The Body of Christ with it’s multiple gifting, is the most appropriate context for the interpretation of God’s Word.  Even if you do the study individually, greater richness will result if observations and analysis are shared with a partner, small group, or class.

Observe, observe and observe some more.  This is the part of biblical study that is least practiced by many Christians and churches. Therefore it requires the greatest discipline and emphasis.  When you think you have seen it all, then slowly read the passage again. Consider using more than one translation to see words and phrases in a different way. A thorough observation is the foundation for solid interpretation and is what will impact our application.  Albert Einstein said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”   Spend the majority of the time you have available observing and asking questions.

If we were using this material in a group setting with 45-60 minutes available, we would spend 2/3 of the time on the observation steps.   Then dividing the remaining time between interpretation and application, we would choose among the questions most appropriate for the context.  If you are doing the study individually, you might easily spend a week pondering the passage through the steps suggested in the study.

Always include an APPLICATION, even if the question remains to be contemplated throughout the day or week.

And finally, notice that much of Scripture is written in plural.

Enjoy!    -Patricia and Susan

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